Cooking with Red Sparkling Wine
25th October 2022
I’m sure that many of us haven’t even heard of red sparkling wine let alone tasted any. Surprisingly though, options to enjoy fizzy red wine are in abundance from many different countries and even in the UK certain wineries are producing their own labels. I have tasted some fine examples from Australia to Argentina with some fine flavours and aromas expressed, the biggest challenge I find is to find examples that are not too heavy where a glass is more than enough and sometimes finishing that glass can be all too sickening in such you experience a red fizz overload.
For me, Slovenia is the place to go when it comes to exploring red sparkling wine with many wineries offering a label or two dedicated to the darker side. The balance between the dark berry fruit flavours and the necessary dry expression in order for the wine to enjoy not only for drinking, but also for food pairing and cooking seems to be mastered in the wine regions of Slovenia.
Cooking with wine has been highly popular over the years from white wines to red, pouring the Champagne or even a wee dram or two in order to enhance flavours from the dish. Still white and still red are the two most common types used in cooking as there are when it comes to pairing with the food once cooked, but in recent years there has been increasing usage of the fizzy kind of wines as part of the ingredients. The famous coq au vin or bœuf bourguignon are main meal names many of us will be familiar with in that each dish includes a splash of wine whilst cooking – As Keith Floyd says ‘Always choose the best quality wine to use when cooking, if you wouldn’t drink you shouldn’t cook with it.‘
Chicken casserole with red sparkling wine – Now this dish can not only accommodate red sparkling wine in the ingredients, but also as a pairing whilst we enjoy what we have cooked. The ingredients are simple, please note this is my own recipe: Diced chicken, flour, butter, sage, thyme, parsley, onions, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, garlic, chicken stock, water and a half bottle of red sparkling wine! Recipe: Cover the chicken in flour and place in the dish on a low heat slightly browning the meat then add the decent knob of butter with the herbs and tomatoes continuing on a low heat – Once the meat seems pretty much cooked add the chopped onions until they are translucent. Then it is the turn of the red sparkling wine, one half bottle added and allowed to marinate the chicken for 30 mins. Thereafter add boiling water with the chicken stock and potatoes and leave on a low heat for a further hour and a half.
Red Sparkling Wine – Štoka Prima: “Always served well chilled! For me, Slovenia holds the best examples of red sparkling wine. A deep, intense dark berry aroma though dry in style rather than sweet with added forest floor. Flavours are crisp and mouth-watering. Dry blackberry fruit flavours with added cherry skin, savoury, saline. Used this wine to cook a chicken casserole.
Homemade chicken casserole with red sparkling wine: “You can certainly taste the red sparkling wine in the dish. Savoury flavours as expected with added dark berry fruits expressed with a sweetness delivered from the cherry tomatoes.”
Pairing notes – Štoka Prima & homemade chicken casserole: “A great combination. Not only does the red sparkling wine enhance the dish as an ingredient, but the pairing also goes magically well together. The savoury flavours from the casserole enhance the dark berry fruit flavours from the wine in deed increasing the sweeter fruity flavours that the wine alone did not show. Nice balance between food and wine.“
Co-founder of Glass of Bubbly. Journalist and author focused on Champagne & Sparkling Wines and pairing them with foods.